When in Rome

El Vaquero’s managing editor talks about traveling throughout Italy and lessons learned


Alin Pasokhian

GCC’s Study Abroad to Italy in winter 2018 took to the streets of Rome, but takes roads less traveled to immerse in local culture.

What began as a journey to see if I would be transferring to an Italian university, quickly became a realization point that I had it in me to live abroad — not just study there. It was through the culturally immersive experience of being in Italy that brought me to this revelation.

As college students continue to further their education, they will look for ways to improve their resume and add to their college experience. Being in a different country not only allows students to achieve these goals, but also helps them learn new things about themselves as people and students. It also allows students to encounter people from other countries, and see the differences among their home and their temporary home for the time being. The Study Abroad program at Glendale Community College offers various trips which cover different topics and subjects that fit any student’s interest. 

“You learn the difference between needs and wants,” said Darren Leaver, GCC’s Study Abroad director, about the impact that studying and traveling abroad has on students. “There are two main ways to get rich: one is earning more money. The other thing is you desire less.” Studying abroad in his case has helped him understand to let go of superficial values and focus on the more important, little things. 

The abroad experience allows students to get out of their average classroom setting and immerse themselves into a brand new country and culture. “[It] is all about confronting your reality,” said Flavio Frontini, co-director of the program, as well as GCC’s beloved Italian professor. He noted that studying overseas makes you “able to open your mind and accept the diversity of the world” and “get something from the country you are in.”

 GCC’s program takes students to places such as Bali, Ireland, and Italy. Covering a group of diverse subjects such as Physical Geology (GEOL 101), Contemporary World Problems (POLS 110), World Music (MUSIC 127), and more, this program offers classes that can fit just about any taste. 

Beyond resume-building and self-exploration, traveling abroad also allows students to get some exploring out of the way before entering the world of graduate school, their careers, and other things, such as having their own families. 

“This is a time in life where money is scarce but time is plentiful. Fairly soon you’ll have a career with significant income, but no free time,” Leaver added. “Try to travel now, rather than waiting.”

As a student who has personally traveled abroad through GCC’s program, I can truly say that being in a completely new environment teaches you things about yourself — both good and bad, that you may not have been aware of before. 

In my case, I was taught patience and self-reliance. Patience towards people who may not meet my own standards, but I was stuck with them for a month or longer. Moreover, it forced me to rely on myself more than anyone because only I know what is best for me and what I want.

As I was purchased groceries and began making my way to my apartment, I realized I can make somewhere far away my home. Whether it be 20 miles or 10,000 miles away, I can handle anything. I decided to come back to GCC, but I know there may be a chance one day to live abroad and on my own with ease, and it’s all thanks to a program that I chose to be a part of on a whim.

The upcoming programs for the 2019-2020 school year include Italy (Winter 2019), Ghana, England/Ireland and Spain (Summer 2019), and Italy, Prague and Vienna (Winter 2020). Each offers at least two courses per trip. 

The Study Abroad office is located in AD 145C and can be reached at 818-240-1000, ext. 5718. For more information, you can email the department at: [email protected] 

For more information about the program contact: Darren Leaver at         [email protected] and Flavio Frontini at [email protected].

The famous stairs at the Vatican Museum.